Rachel Braun Scherl calls herself the Vagipreneur™. She shares with WINGS host Melinda Wittstock her entrepioneering stories about innovating on the frontier of female sexual health, from startup to exit. Raising VC money is hard enough without talking arousal, menstruation or fertility: Listen to how Rachel got investor buy-in for her company Semprae, makers of Zestra® Essential Arousal Oils, and now helps other women in FemTech.
The art of entrepreneurship is to seize a large untapped market with an innovative solution to a pressing problem. Rachel Braun Scherl saw her opportunity in FemTech – that is, helping women with everything from menstruation and fertility to arousal.
It’s a fast-growing space, and Rachel has seized the territory of VagiPreneur™, a term she has trademarked.
She shares with Melinda how she got on the radar of Silicon Valley VCs, and what it took to get the khaki-clad men in the room beyond their embarrassment at all the talk of Zestra® Essential Arousal Oils, the product the company she had co-founded, Semprae, manufactured.
“The male brain reverts to being in a 7th grade locker room,” Rachel says, relating how it took slamming a $100 bill down on the table and says, “if anyone makes a sexual innuendo I haven’t heard before or a double entendre that makes me blush or makes me uncomfortable in any way, this $100 is yours… Now let’s talk about the business model”.
It worked and Rachel took Semprae to lucrative exit and now as co-founder of SPARK Solutions for Growth, where she helps female founders in the female health, wellness and sexuality space grow their companies.
She’s writing a book called Orgasmic Leadership – Profiting from the Coming Surge in Female Health and Wellness. Her book will be out in 2018.
Here are some of Rachel’s tips for entrepioneering women:
- Build Your Network of Other Entrepreneurs: “I constantly speak to other entrepreneurs, listen to them on podcasts, read books and read articles and …store them in my entrepreneurial library so that I can call upon them”.
- Hire Your Weaknesses: Know what you’re not good at and double down on your strengths. “I do think it’s very hard as an entrepreneur to let go”, she says. Women have a hard time delegating: “I think it’s a sense of I want it done my way or no way…it takes confidence to say you’re not good at something or you don’t know something”.
- Create “Getaway Space” for yourself: It could be meditation, working out or in Rachel’s case “a good 20 minutes of Wedding Crashers will sort of get me back into the groove”.
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